Everything You Need To Know About Pyrography Art: Wood Burning

Wood burning art has been a popular art form around the world for its impressive decorative uses. People often carve their names on wooden objects and use them for decorating their living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and gardens. It is a creative way of crafting intricate pieces of home décor. Nowadays, many individuals have pursued this form of wooden art as a hobby or a craft as many new useful tools have been introduced in the market. As a beginner, it is essential to learn the basics and techniques of the art of wood burning. Here is everything you need to know about how to start in pyrography.:

What is pyrography?      

Pyrography is carving or marking wood and other materials using heating tools to burn a design into the surface. The term pyrography comes from Greek and translates to “writing with fire.” Pyrography is most commonly seen on decorative pieces like home décor (decorative hangings, showpieces, key holders), kitchenware (spice box, cutting boards), dinnerware (coasters, cutlery), etc. These days, this art form is prevalent in home decoration. 

In the beginning, only a few essential tools are needed for pyrography art which can be found easily and are relatively cost-effective

History of wood-burning 

Wood art pyrography has existed since the early ages after human beings discovered fire. Early humans realized that they could burn designs on wooden surfaces using fire and started carving different symbols and pictures. Early evidence of Pyrography art has been found in Egypt, China, Rome, and Peru. It has been practiced in Egyptian and African cultures since early times. Pyrography art was known as “fire needle embroidery” in the Han dynasty in China. The Victorian era saw the invention of new Pyrography tools and machines. Since then, people have been deeply interested in learning the craft, which is when the term “Pyrography” came into existence. 

During the medieval period, blacksmiths used heated metal to craft intricate designs on wood. They realized that they could use heat to craft on both metal and wood. Subsequently, wood stoves started to be used to heat needles and knives used for the crafting process. 

Pyrography art: what kind of supplies are needed

Before starting the practice of wood burning art, a craftsman requires a few essential tools. Materials and tools of the right quality are vital for an artist to make intricate designs. These tools can be easily found in a local craft store or hardware store online or online general marketplace websites. To master the skill, one needs a lot of practice and patience. The basic tools and supplies mentioned below are required to make the best pyrography wood art:

  • Wood
  • Wood burning pen
  • Carbon, graphite, sandpaper
  • Masking tape 
  • Eraser
  • Ruler
  • Oil
  • Physical stencil (if available)

Kind of wood required for pyrography art

There are two kinds of wood, softwood, and hardwood. It is much easier to burn softwood than hardwood as it burns faster and doesn’t require as much heat as hardwood. So as a beginner, it is best if you use Softwoods for crafting. It is also important for the wood to have a smooth surface and less wood grain. The following woods are the best wood for pyrography: 

  • Pine
  • Birch 
  • Basswood
  • Aspen
  • Poplar
  • Bamboo
  • Oak 

You don’t have to start with high-quality or expensive wood. In the beginning, use inexpensive wood like pine to practice and hone your technique.

Wood burning art: tricks and techniques 

Before learning the tricks and techniques of pyrography art, you should know a little more about wood-burning tools and nibs. Woodburning pens run with the help of electricity and generate heat. The nips used for wood burning can be categorized into two heads: a solid tip and a wire tip. The nibs available in the market vary in shapes and sizes. While solid point tips are best suited for beginners, wired tips are used by more experienced and expert wood crafters. Solid point tips are easier to use while shading and designing Common shapes, numbers, etc.

Temperature control is another important aspect of pyrography. The artists need to ensure that the tool is at the right temperature for the surface material chosen, so it is neither too hot nor too cold.

Some techniques of using the wood-burning tool are given below:

  • Before using the tool, make sure to read all the instructions carefully. 
  • Before screwing the tip onto the wood burner, make sure that the tool is cold and is not plugged into an electricity source 
  • Then, plug the tool and let it heat for about five minutes. Start designing on the surface of the wood, keeping the pressure constant at all times. Excessive pressure can damage the nib in the long run. 
  • In terms of safety, ensure that your workshop or the room you work in is well ventilated to eliminate excessive smoke and wood dust.
  • Sketch the shape gently and delicately. If you want to change the nibs and use different shapes and sizes, use a needle nose plier to remove the hot nibs from the wood-burning tool. 
  • Use sandpaper to clean the nib of the wood burner tool. 
  • Use sandpaper to smooth the surface of the pyrography art. Olive oil or mineral oil can be applied as finishing to give it a lustrous appearance.

Once you start getting the hang of wood-burning art, you can give coloring a try. Watercolor pencils, crayons, and gel paints go well with pyrography art.

Here are some cool tricks that one can use as a beginner in wood-burning art:

  • One of the easiest ways of getting a replica of your drawing on wood is by printing your sketches on paper and using heat to transfer the toner from paper to wood.
  • Using too much heat while carving can result in ugly, uneven stroke marks. You can instead use limited heat and slowly darken each area of your drawing.

Wood burning is an exciting art form with a unique look. Dive into it headfirst with our handy guide to this hot new trending craft.

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